A local village which has been entered into a province wide competition for Best Kept Village will NOT be carrying out any environmental improvements in preparation because there is no funding available.
Stranocum, an award winning village several years ago, was entered by Ballymoney Borough Council for the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition, but at the annual meeting of the local Community Association last week, officers declared that there was no finance available for flower beds, hanging baskets etc.
Frank Campbell, who is one of Ballymoney Borough Council’s representatives on the Association, confirmed that the council had submitted Stranocum’s name but that no money had been set aside for funding.
“People do not want to see their rates going up and that’s why there is no budget for this,” Cllr. Campbell said.
However, he suggested that the council might make an exception if a strong enough case was put to them and he promised his support.
While the Association remain in the black, officers said that the spiralling cost of public liability insurance and less profit from events meant that they had to re-think their strategy. This year, there will be no civic week and only the Duck Race and the annual Barbecue will be staged.
Officers stressed, however, that the decision to axe the Civic Week was so as not to duplicate what another group, Stranocum Development Association, might be planning.
Members of the Development Group were present.
Questions were asked about spending on events, but the outgoing chairman, William Johnston, said that while the Association were keen to make a profit, they were more interested in stimulating the community by giving them a good night out as was the case with the barbecue.
However, both parties pledged to work together for the good of the community.
Jamie Culbertson spoke for many when he said that whatever happened in the should remain in the past and that it was the future they should be looking to.
He said: “We need to come together and put everything at a level where the community will reap the benefits. We would want to show you support and, in turn, you will support us.”
Marie-Louise McClarey, Manager of the Causeway Volunteer Centre, attended the meeting and her contribution was warmly welcomed.
William Johnston was re-elected chairman with the secretarial duties being shared by Linda Wilson and Zara Curry. Ann Patton and Elizabeth McIlhatton will share the treasurer’s duties.
Councillor Campbell confirmed that work on the new community centre would start later this month and that the tender had been issued.
He said the community would be required to elect a management team to run the centre and produce funding to cover all ongoing costs.